The Double LifeBy: Nia Wilson
I sang along with the radio, trying to push my thoughts away. I couldn’t do anything about Malik until Monday anyway, so no use worrying about it now.
I checked my review mirror several times, watching for cars that seemed too familiar. None stood out, but I still passed my exit and exited two miles further up. I doubled back and took the long back road to my house. I relaxed when I got onto Rio Mountain Road. There wasn’t a car for as far as I could see behind me.
I wound my way down the deserted road, glancing in the mirror from time to time to make sure I was still alone.
When I got to Rainey Street, I turned left and went several blocks before I reached my house. I was about to turn left when I realized the brown sedan was completely blocking my driveway. The car in front of it, which belonged to the neighbor next door, was inches from the front of the sedan.
Behind the sedan, the road was clear, the moving van presumably returned after being empty. I drove the end of the street and did a u turn. I pulled up behind the brown sedan, inching forward slowly until I tapped the bumper with mine.
I put my car in park and pulled up the parking break. I got out, arms through the handles of the grocery bag, and walked through my driveway gate, which I usually left open. I latched the gate and thumbed the lock closed before heading to the front gate and doing the same.
I jogged up my front steps and unlocked my door, blocking the opening with my foot to keep Johann from running outside.
I locked the door behind me and set the groceries on the table. I was unloading the last of the food when a loud knock sounded on the door.
“I know you’re in there. What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
I ignored Frank, moving leisurely through the kitchen while I made a turkey sandwich. He continued pounding on the door, yelling at the top of his lungs and cursing at me through the locked door. I grabbed the remote and turned on the radio in the living room, turning the volume up until the music drowned out his voice.
Johann regarded me with disapproval. Not because I was being rude, but because I wasn’t sharing my sandwich. It was tempting, but the thought of him ever become a puddle of obese kitty again stopped me in my tracks.
I hummed along with the music while I ate at the center island in my kitchen. Johann sat on the stool next to mine, eyeing my sandwich and casting glances at the door.
“Call me Ms. Passive Aggressive. Maybe next time he won’t block me in.”
Johann meowed at me and left the kitchen, finally giving up on the sandwich. I took my time, savoring the dried cranberries I’d tossed into the dressing for good measure. The result was delicious, and I scoffed again at Andrea’s insistence that my shopping technique was hectic. If this was hectic, it was damned delicious.
I finished my sandwich and drank my milk, turning the radio down to a reasonable level and heading into the living room. I’d been home for nearly thirty minutes. Frank had probably suffered enough.
I flipped the security lock over, which only allowed the door to open an inch. Even by unlocking a chain, a good kick couldn’t bust the door open. But then I found myself staring into the most stunning blue eyes I’d ever seen.
“Frank’s gone. He’s an asshole, but he needs to leave. He won’t be back, as he was only here for a brief, um, business meeting.” He smiled sweetly and I found myself once again trying to place the accent that colored his voice. “Would you please move your car so he can leave?”
I stared at him for a moment, not sure what to say. I could only see a few inches of his face, but what I saw was quite handsome.
My cheeks grew hot as I realized I hadn’t even been listening to him.
“The car? Can you move it please?”
Of course, the car. “Sure, give me a sec.”
I grabbed the keys and closed the door, disengaging the latch and opening the door fully. Johann made a run for it, getting past me before I could put my foot out.
The man on the porch bent down and swept Johann into his arms in one smooth moment. He held the cat out to me. I took him and turned to toss him lightly into the living room before I closed the door.
The light scent of expensive cologne hung in the air between us, and I realized I was only a few feet from him.
“I’m sorry, I should have introduced myself. Derek Rossi. I believe you met my son Declan yesterday.” He held out his hand and I just stared at it for a moment.
I put my hand in his and he raised my hand to his lips. I laughed uncomfortably and yanked my hand away before his lips touched my skin.
“It’s nice to meet you, Derek. Where are you from?”
He smiled warmly, “Encinitas.”
I almost snorted out loud, but I stopped myself in time. There was no way that accent was from anywhere in California. I still couldn’t place it, but I was sure that his accent wasn’t from this continent.